Thursday, July 1, 2010

BlueVoice Busts Illegal Whale Commerce in Greenland



Greenland Blog #3

BlueVoice Uncovers Unsanctioned Commercial Whaling in Greenland
by Hardy Jones

The word that the IWC had granted Greenland a quota to hunt nine humpback whales in each of the years 2010 – 2012 reached me in Iceland as I traveled to Nuuk, capital of Greenland.

The word that twenty-seven of these curious, intelligent, infinitely graceful creatures will be killed after years of protection is heart wrenching. Over the decades during which the approach of a boat did not mean a painful death, humpbacks have become friendly, approaching boats and even divers in the water.

Now that bond of trust will be broken. That is sad in itself but it may also impact the whale watching business that supports communities all along the east coast.

The IWC granted Greenland the humpback quota for whaling that would provide meat for ABORIGINAL USE ONLY. But in Nuuk I’ve discovered the meat in a super market, in the form of sushi at a Thai restaurant and as steak in a greasy spoon burger and pizza joint. Tonight I will head out to find whether there are other establishments purveying whale. Commercial sale of whale meat is not allowed under the IWC quota.

It is sad that humpbacks have just reappeared off Greenland after sixty years only to be slaughtered.

I am in Greenland to attend the Inuit Circumpolar Council. I want to learn what information is available on levels of heavy metals and organic pollutants in marine mammals killed for food and in the people who eat it what health problems have been identified and how the Inuit intend to deal with that information.

It’s an established fact that women who eat large quantities of dolphin, whale and seal meat give birth to a high ratio of girl babies over boys. In some villages the ratio is two to one. In one village no boys have been born in some time.

I discussed this issue with William L. Iggiagruk Hensley (Willy) an Inupiaq who has too many major league political and business credentials to list. He was a member of the Clinton transition team, a leader in several Alaska native organizations and author of Fifty Miles From Tomorrow, a brilliant work.

I was astonished to learn that he had no knowledge of the fact that eating marine mammal meat was causing such a bizarre impact on Inuits. It is literally suppressing the production of male children not to mention immune systems and mental development.

Among the speakers at the conference is Per M. Bakken of the United Nations Environment Programme. He warned that a chemical catastrophe faces the people of the north from contamination in some of the food they take from the sea – marine mammals in particular. I asked him if he felt the Inuit ignored or were in denial about these facts and he agreed that they paid little attention to it.

What they are really ticked off about is the fact that trade in seal skins is prohibited by many nations.

5 comments:

bebiane84 said...

"I was astonished to learn that he had no knowledge of the fact that eating marine mammal meat was causing such a bizarre impact on Inuits. It is literally suppressing the production of male children not to mention immune systems and mental development."


Population in Greenland

Population by Sex and Age, January 1st 2007
Total Men Women
Total 56,648 30,005 26,643
( http://www.stat.gl/LinkClick.aspx?link=Intranet%2fGIF+2008+WEB.pdf&tabid=36&mid=371&language=da-DK page 6)

And now for your accusations against Greenland on commercial whalers. Our whaling is in fact only to "Aboriginal USE ONLY ."... The catch is sold to resident Greenlanders ... What else would hunters live by? They have costs to catch whales, and the catch can not just given away for free. Hunters sell to public institutions, restaurants and private individuals. The catch is not sold abroad.


The more you learn, the better you can see what you need to learn.

It's really good that you have learned about the contents of poison in marine mammals, we are also very concerned about this and we are told by the experts that we should not eat too much fat, liver and others. But instead of learning the negative, you can also learn the positives of eating whale meat. Have you ever heard of them?

A true Greenlander known that mouth water running wild at the sight of a whale tail Basques. There is really no wonder at. The indigenous Inuit peoples adapted it for the harsh lives along the ice edge without fruit and vegetables to absorb the essential nutrients from marine fish and mammals. Thus they learned to love whale skin with blubber, a delicacy known as mattak and were thus covered the need for vitamin A. A winter semester without sun would have exterminated the entire population, if not we got the tire need for vitamin D through fatty fish and marine mammals. Today, the Greenlanders' average lifespan is much lower one the Danish, and I wonder if it is linked to that popular penchant for the old Danish national dish brown sauce and boiled potatoes, preferably with an award of canned meatballs.

It is true that they contain too much poison!! Change it from the source, stop the source and we will no longer have same disease as you have.

Bebiane Boye,
Greenland

bebiane84 said...
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bebiane84 said...
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bebiane84 said...
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Chris Butler-Stroud said...

Despite bebiane84's comment that 'The catch is sold to resident Greenlanders', this is increasingly just not the case

We were able to buy whale meat and blubber in Copenhagen in November this year as was a journalist a few weeks later. The meat was freely sold to us and indeed, when we identified ourselves as tourists, the store was still willing to sell us whale meat.

The question is how many whales need to die? The IWC member states accept that Greenland needs to hunt some whales, but only to feed Greenlanders, not tourists. That's why the IWC rejected the increased request in Panama this year.

Also, why does Denmark allow Danes who have been resident in Greenland for 185 days to then import whale meat into Denmark? They are not Inuit, but they are contributing to a demand that is driving the commercialization of whaling in Greenland.

Chris Butler-Stroud
Whale and Dolphin Conservation